ERJ staff report (BC)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) is seeking proposals from companies to retrieve thousands of tires dumped into the ocean off Fort Lauderdale in the 1970s, reports David Fleshler of the Florida Sun-Sentinel.
An estimated 700 000 tires are said to lie off the coast, thrown into the ocean by boaters and divers in a well-intentioned but ill-conceived plan to create an artificial reef to support coral growth and attract fish.
The scheme failed when few marine creatures made their homes on the rubber surfaces, and bouncing tires killed corals.
Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is stepping in to clean up what's come to be called the Osborne Tire Reef, a name taken from an adjacent, successful artificial reef called the Osborne Reef.
FDEP wants companies interested in tire clearance to quote a price per retrieval of 1 000 tires by 23 May. Mara Burger, spokeswoman for the department, said the number of tires recovered will depend on the amounts the companies propose to charge.
Pat Quinn, a biologist for Broward County, is quoted as saying that a rain of steel-belted radials was the last thing needed by ecosystems struggling with a host of threats: "The reefs are already threatened by everything from land-based sources of pollution to global climate change. If they're under stress and you start hitting them with tires, it's going to be hard for them to recover from that stress."
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